Stylish Writing Quotes

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I want to say something about bad writing. I'm proud of my bad writing. Everyone is so intelligent lately, and stylish. Fucking great. I am proud of Philip Guston's bad painting, I am proud of Baudelaire's mamma's boy goo goo misery. Sometimes the lurid or shitty means having a heart, which's something you have to try to have. Excellence nowadays is too general and available to be worth prizing: I am interested in people who have to find strange and horrible ways to just get from point a to point b.
Ariana Reines
I'd always thought that my awkwardness was a thin veil disguising the real me. The me that was funny and could write songs that touched people. The me that would one day find some beautiful, intelligent boy who'd recognize me as his soul mate. The me who was secretly pretty and stylish if only someone would lift the veil and see. But I was beginning to suspect that underneath the awkwardness there was just more awkwardness and not much else. And that would explain why I stood in a room full of people and felt like the loneliest girl in the world.
Sarra Manning (Guitar Girl)
We are writing in the age of stylish minimalism that in truth has become even more cautious because of word processing. Nowadays, creative writing students are underwriting rather than overdoing it.
Stephen Kuusisto
academic writing is a process of making intelligent choices, not of following rigid rules.
Helen Sword (Stylish Academic Writing)
The mind becomes uncensored whenever the devil's in the writing...
Wynter Adams
Dear Producers, Something is radiating deep within me and it must be transmitted or I will implode and the world will suffer a great loss, unawares. Epic are the proportions of my soul, yet without a scope who cares am I? This is why I must but must be one of the inhabitants of MTV's "Real World." Only there, burning brightly into a million dazzled eyes, will my as yet uncontoured self assume the beauteous forms that are not just its own, but an entire market niche's, due. I am a Kirk Cameron-Kurt Cobain figure, roguishly quirky, dandified but down to earth, kooky but comprehensible; denizen of the growing penumbra between alternative and mainstream culture; angsty prophet of the already bygone apocalypse, yet upbeat, stylish and sexy! Oscar Wilde wrote, "Good artists exist in what they make, and consequently are perfectly uninteresting in what they are. A great poet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating... [they] live the poetry [they] cannot write." As with Dorian Gray, life is my art! Oh MTV, take me, make me, wake me from my formless slumbers and place me in the dreamy Real World of target marketing.
Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)
But as to your writing me that I don’t love you very much, I don’t know whether you’re saying this in earnest or whether I should realise that you’re joking with me. Still, what you say disturbs me. You are measuring a very healthy expression of a wife’s loyalty by the standard of the insincere flattery of well-worn phrases. But I shall love you, my husband. What does it mean to you that you reassure me with those trivial little compliments? Do you want me to believe that you expect me to comb my hair in a stylish fashion for your homecoming? Or to feign adoring looks with a painted face? Let women without means, who worry and have no confidence in their virtue, flutter their eyelashes and play games to gain favour with their husbands. This is the adulation of a fox and the birdlime of deceitful bird hunting. I don’t want to have to buy you at such a price. I’m not a person who lays more stock in words than duty. I am truly your Laura, whose soul is the same one you in turn had hoped for.
Laura Cereta
Now in his nineties, Spock is writing a book on spirituality. But his understanding of spirituality is a far cry from that of institutionalized religions: Spirituality, unfortunately, is not a stylish word. It’s not a word that gets used. That’s because we’re such an unspiritual country that we think of it as somewhat corny to talk about spirituality. “What is that?” people say. Spirituality, to me, means the nonmaterial things. I don’t want to give the idea that it’s something mystical; I want it to apply to ordinary people’s ordinary lives: things like love, and helpfulness, and tolerance, and enjoyment of the arts or even creativity in the arts. I think that creativity in the arts is very special. It takes a high degree and a high type of spirituality to want to express things in terms of literature or poetry, plays, architecture, gardens, creating beauty any way. And if you can’t create beauty, at least it’s good to appreciate beauty and get some enjoyment and inspiration out of it. So it’s just things that aren’t totally materialistic. And that would include religion.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention)
he was no mountaineer when he decided to climb the Hindu Kush. A few days scrambling on the rocks in Wales, enchantingly chronicled here, were his sole preparation. It was not mountaineering that attracted him; the Alps abound in opportunities for every exertion of that kind. It was the longing, romantic, reasonless, which lies deep in the hearts of most Englishmen, to shun the celebrated spectacles of the tourist and without any concern with science or politics or commerce, simply to set their feet where few civilized feet have trod. An American critic who read the manuscript of this book condemned it as ‘too English’. It is intensely English, despite the fact that most of its action takes place in wildly foreign places and that it is written in an idiomatic, uncalculated manner the very antithesis of ‘Mandarin’ stylishness. It rejoices the heart of fellow Englishmen, and should at least illuminate those who have any curiosity about the odd character of our Kingdom. It exemplifies the essential traditional (some, not I, will say deplorable) amateurism of the English. For more than two hundred years now Englishmen have been wandering about the world for their amusement, suspect everywhere as government agents, to the great embarrassment of our officials. The Scotch endured great hardships in the cause of commerce; the French in the cause of either power or evangelism. The English only have half (and wholly) killed themselves in order to get away from England. Mr Newby is the latest, but, I pray, not the last, of a whimsical tradition. And in his writing he has all the marks of his not entirely absurd antecedents. The understatement, the self-ridicule, the delight in the foreignness of foreigners, the complete denial of any attempt to enlist the sympathies of his readers in the hardships he has capriciously invited; finally in his formal self-effacement in the presence of the specialist (with the essential reserve of unexpressed self-respect) which concludes, almost too abruptly, this beguiling narrative – in all these qualities Mr Newby has delighted the heart of a man whose travelling days are done and who sees, all too often, his countrymen represented abroad by other, new and (dammit) lower types. Dear reader, if you have any softness left for the idiosyncrasies of our rough island race, fall to and enjoy this characteristic artifact. EVELYN
Eric Newby (A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush)
An example is the campaign that Goodby, Berlin & Sil- verstein produced for the Northern California Honda Deal- ers Advertising Association (NCHDAA) in 1989. Rather than conform to the stereotypical dealer group advertising ("one of a kind, never to be repeated deals, this weekend 114 Figure 4.1 UNUM: "Bear and Salmon. Figure 4.2 UNUM: "Father and Child." 115 PEELING THE ONION only, the Honda-thon, fifteen hundred dollars cash back . . ." shouted over cheesy running footage), it was decided that the campaign should reflect the tone of the national cam- paign that it ran alongside. After all, we reasoned, the only people who know that one spot is from the national cam- paign and another from a regional dealer group are industry insiders. In the real world, all people see is the name "Honda" at the end. It's dumb having one of (Los Angeles agency) Rubin Postaer's intelligent, stylish commercials for Honda in one break, and then in the next, 30 seconds of car salesman hell, also apparently from Honda. All the good work done by the first ad would be undone by the second. What if, we asked ourselves, we could in some way regionalize the national message? In other words, take the tone and quality of Rubin Postaer's campaign and make it unique to Northern California? All of the regional dealer groups signed off as the Northern California Chevy/Ford/ Toyota Dealers, yet none of the ads would have seemed out of place in Florida or Wisconsin. In fact, that's probably where they got them from. In our research, we began not by asking people about cars, or car dealers, but about living in Northern California. What's it like? What does it mean? How would you describe it to an alien? (There are times when my British accent comes in very useful.) How does it compare to Southern California? "Oh, North and South are very different," a man in a focus group told me. "How so?" "Well, let me put it this way. There's a great rivalry between the (San Francisco) Giants and the (L.A.) Dodgers," he said. "But the Dodgers' fans don't know about it." Everyone laughed. People in the "Southland" were on a different planet. All they cared about was their suntans and flashy cars. Northern Californians, by comparison, were more modest, discerning, less likely to buy things to "make state- ments," interested in how products performed as opposed to 116 Take the Wider View what they looked like, more environmentally conscious, and concerned with the quality of life. We already knew from American Honda—supplied re- search what Northern Californians thought of Honda's cars. They were perceived as stylish without being ostentatious, reliable, understated, good value for the money . . . the paral- lels were remarkable. The creative brief asked the team to consider placing Honda in the unique context of Northern California, and to imagine that "Hondas are designed with Northern Californi- ans in mind." Dave O'Hare, who always swore that he hated advertising taglines and had no talent for writing them, came back immediately with a line to which he wanted to write a campaign: "Is Honda the Perfect Car for Northern Califor- nia, or What?" The launch commercial took advantage of the rivalry between Northern and Southern California. Set in the state senate chamber in Sacramento, it opens on the Speaker try- ing to hush the house. "Please, please," he admonishes, "the gentleman from Northern California has the floor." "What my Southern Californian colleague proposes is a moral outrage," the senator splutters, waving a sheaf of papers at the other side of the floor. "Widening the Pacific Coast Highway . . . to ten lanes!" A Southern Californian senator with bouffant hair and a pink tie shrugs his shoulders. "It's too windy," he whines (note: windy as in curves, not weather), and his fellow Southern Californians high-five and murmur their assent. The Northern Californians go nuts, and the Speaker strug- gles in vain to call everyone to order. The camera goes out- side as th
Anonymous
First,” said Charlotte, “I dive at him.” She plunged headfirst toward the fly.… “Next, I wrap him up.” She grabbed the fly, threw a few jets of silk around it, and rolled it over and over, wrapping it so that it couldn’t move.… “Now I knock him out, so he’ll be more comfortable.” She bit the fly. “He can’t feel a thing now.”2 Substitute “reader” for the fly and “academic prose” for the spider’s silk, and you get a fairly accurate picture of how academic writers immobilize their victims.
Helen Sword (Stylish Academic Writing)
Stylish scholars, my colleagues told me, express complex ideas clearly and precisely; produce elegant, carefully crafted sentences; convey a sense of energy, intellectual commitment, and even passion; engage and hold their readers’ attention; tell a compelling story; avoid jargon, except where specialized terminology is essential to the argument; provide their readers with aesthetic and intellectual pleasure; and write with originality, imagination, and creative flair.
Helen Sword (Stylish Academic Writing)
Academics identified by their peers as stylish writers for other reasons—their intelligence, humor, personal voice, or descriptive power—are invariably sticklers for well-crafted prose. Their sentences may vary in length, subject matter, and style; however, their writing is nearly always governed by three key principles that any writer can learn. First, they employ plenty of concrete nouns and vivid verbs, especially when discussing abstract concepts. Second, they keep nouns and verbs close together, so that readers can easily identify “who’s kicking whom.” Third, they avoid weighing down their sentences with extraneous words and phrases, or “clutter.
Helen Sword (Stylish Academic Writing)
I've been reading poetry manuscripts for a poetry prize, not as many this time as in the past--I guess the screening process is more stringent than it used to be. But I haven't found a single book I can be enthusiastic about. I wish now I hadn't agreed to do it, because it puts me in a bind: I've already received and cashed the check, and I must choose a winner, I must write a statement about it, I must have my name attached to it. Which means, in effect, I must tell a lie and be a hypocrite. Of course I could write a check and turn down the assignment, late as it is. But that would bother me a lot too, it's not my style. Damn. These manuscripts--anonymous, buy equally divided between women and me--are frightfully stylish and clever and Cantabridgian. Anyway to me they are, for all their brilliance, dry as dust, trivial, pretentious, over-refined, and unrewarding. Not the direction in which our poetry should be moving at this point--or at any point.
Hayden Carruth (Letters to Jane)
First, they employ plenty of concrete nouns and vivid verbs, especially when discussing abstract concepts. Second, they keep nouns and verbs close together, so that readers can easily identify “who’s kicking whom.” Third, they avoid weighing down their sentences with extraneous words and phrases, or “clutter.” Far from eschewing theoretical intricacy or syntactical nuance, stylish academic writers deploy these three core principles in the service of eloquent expression and complex ideas.
Helen Sword (Stylish Academic Writing)
These six tapestries, dated to the late fifteenth century, hail from a region near the French-Belgian border known for tapestry-weaving. They hung in relative obscurity in the Château de Boussac until the 1840s. Writer George Sand encountered the tapestries in central France, damp and neglected. She helped to have them cleaned, subsequently writing repeatedly about their subject and craftsmanship. Sand visited the town of Boussac regularly. In 1870, she wrote of an overnight stay at the château there. The night was windy and restless, sending Sand to fetch a forgotten letter from the salon. She described studying the lady and unicorn tapestries in the remaining light from the fire. “Thin, richly and bizarrely dressed,” she wrote, “This blond, stylish lady is quite mysterious.” Her granddaughter had called her “fairy-like.
Emma Jacobs (The Little(r) Museums of Paris: An Illustrated Guide to the City's Hidden Gems)
I've been reading poetry manuscripts for a poetry prize, not as many this time as in the past--I guess the screening process is more stringent than it used to be. But I haven't found a single book I can be enthusiastic about. I wish now I hadn't agreed to do it, because it puts me in a bind: I've already received and cashed the check, and I must choose a winner, I must write a statement about it, I must have my name attached to it. Which means, in effect, I must tell a lie and be a hypocrite. Of course I could write a check and turn down the assignment, late as it is. But that would bother me a lot too, it's not my style. Damn. These manuscripts--anonymous, but equally divided between women and men--are frightfully stylish and clever and Cantabridgian. Anyway to me they are, for all their brilliance, dry as dust, trivial, pretentious, over-refined, and unrewarding. Not the direction in which our poetry should be moving at this point--or at any point.
Hayden Carruth (Letters to Jane)